From the July 26, 2002 Chicago Reader. –J.R.
*** (A must-see)
Directed by Adam Larson Broder and Tony R. Abrams
Written by Broder
With Christina Ricci, Hank Harris, Brenda Blethyn, Dominique Swain, Marisa Coughlan, Sam Ball, Harry Lennix, and Nina Foch.
When the New German Cinema started overtaking the French New Wave as a fashionable movement 30 years ago I felt alienated, as if someone had declared a major source of my moviegoing pleasure out-of-bounds. Taking the place of joie de vivre and jazzy invention were cynical disillusionment and cookie-cutter formal patterning — a new kind of style and content that its champions called subversive and its detractors (including me) called defeatist. Whether the mood was sarcastic (Rainer Werner Fassbinder), flamboyant (Werner Herzog), lyrical (Wim Wenders), or hieratic (Werner Schroeter), the overall message seemed to be that people and social conditions were doomed to remain mired in ruts and that hope was for suckers. The 70s were supplanting the 60s, and being glad you were alive was suddenly seen as wimpy and naive.
Little did I realize that this pessimism would remain in the culture while the German films heralding it would be forgotten even faster than the earlier French ones.… Read more »